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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Crystal City agriculture-tech startup EarthOptics recently announced it has raised nearly $28 million in Series B funding.

The startup helps farmers make data-driven decisions about when to fertilize and how to reduce tilling — a soil-disturbing farming technique that releases carbon into the atmosphere. The company says tilling less improves food quality and reduces costs and carbon emissions.

The $27.6 million raised will go toward improving the capabilities of its suite of soil sensors and mappers to meet increasing interest from farmers and ranchers in EarthOptics products.

“Our industry-leading technology has huge potential for farmers and agribusiness,” CEO Lars Dyrud said in a statement. “With small margins and unpredictable input prices, farmers are looking for ways to improve productivity. Our product does that in a way that fits seamlessly into individual operations. Farmers no longer must rely on expensive soil analysis from labs. Powerful soil insights from EarthOptics can transform the way decisions are made on the farm.”

EarthOptics’ TillMapper helps farmers decide if, when, where and how deep to till (courtesy photo)

The funding round announcement comes on the heels of a successful year for EarthOptics, which says the number of acres it covers and the number of partnerships it has with global food companies grew tenfold in 2022. Last fall, Arlington County highlighted the company as one of the county’s fastest growing startups, in part for its $10.3 million Series A fundraising round in October 2021.

Also last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture named EarthOptics a partner in the agency’s Climate Smart Partnership for six separate proposals.

One proposal is an eight-state effort to make the nation’s beef supply chain carbon neutral. Another would promote the planting of an oilseed crop, which would be harvested for renewable biofuels and would increase how much carbon farmers capture in the soil.

The startup says it is looking for even more partnerships this year.

“We believe EarthOptics has a clear advantage in soil measurement technology, as they improve the scalability of measurement while helping to reduce extrapolation error” said Chris Abbott, Co-Head of Conti Ventures, which invested the most money in this fundraising round. “As we look for technologies that can verify critical soil measurements for growers, we believe EarthOptics stands out in providing agronomic value as well as verification for initiatives like carbon credits.”

Another investment group, Rabobank’s food and agriculture investment fund, said in a statement that the “revival of interest in soil is highly encouraging and much needed.”

“Given the fundamental importance of soil health to the food and agriculture systems, we are excited to support Lars and his team in bringing EarthOptics’ truly disruptive solution to our bank’s global network of farmers, corporates, as well [as] our ecosystem services teams of The Carbon Bank and ACORN,” said Pieter van der Meche, who heads the fund.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

(Updated 4:55 p.m.) Late last year, an AI writing tool captivated public attention for its ability to write the way a human might.

And while some used it for fun — ARLnow asked it to write fanfiction about Arlington and a poem about a gondola from Georgetown to Rosslyn — one tech company in Arlington says the Natural Language Processing (NLP) powering that developing technology has more serious applications.

That is Ballston-based Black Cape. Founded in 2019 to provide data analytics and machine learning solutions to national security and finance, Black Cape conducts most of its business today with the government on national security-related missions.

Its Co-CEO Abe Usher says in the last two years, “there has been an explosion in high-quality [NLP] for text analysis” — a development Black Cape is putting to use.

Black Cape logo (courtesy photo)

The company’s foreign language translation capabilities make it possible to translate English text to more than 100 other languages and back again over a chat tool.

“Consider the case of two people with different primary languages (English, Spanish) chatting with each other while their communications are seamlessly and automatically converted to the other person’s language in real-time,” Usher said. “It’s kind of like the old ‘Star Trek Universal Translator’ but modernized to work within a chat application.”

Natural language processing can also help customers who use Black Cape’s Rubicon tool to categorize and tag text automatically, using a technology called “topic models.”

“Our topic models can automatically sort news articles, social media and documents into thematic categories much like the way Google News works,” he said. “This allows us to create automatically generated collections of text documents with labels (‘world events,’ ‘climate change,’ ‘natural disaster,’ ‘infectious disease,’ etc.) that assist users in finding the information they are looking for.”

Usher says his company has also found applications for the developing technology known as “computer vision,” or a computer’s ability to read pictures or PDFs of old written documents for the text they contain.

“These computer vision models help with a range of image-related tasks, including automatically detecting textual information in images or PDF documents,” he said, adding that this “can help make legacy documents and images searchable based on the text contained within them.”

This year, he expects these two technologies will keep developing.

“In 2023, we anticipate increased technical innovation at the intersection of computer vision and natural language processing AI,” he said. “We also see an increased demand for AI-related services, including data engineering, feature engineering, machine learning model creation and refinement and machine learning operations.”

Pursuing applications for these technological advancements, Black Cape — which is privately funded and has been profitable since 2019 — has grown quickly. In 2022, the Washington Business Journal and Arlington County both recognized it as one of the fastest-growing companies regionally and within Arlington.  Read More

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) Shift5, a data and cybersecurity company that protects planes, trains and tanks, is heading into 2023 in new and bigger digs in Rosslyn.

In early December, it expanded its office footprint at 1100 Wilson Blvd by 67% to accommodate a swelling employee base. The startup’s workforce grew by more than 50% in 2022, funded by a $50 million Series B fundraising round completed early last year.

The building, owned by column sponsor Monday Properties, is home to restaurant Sfoglina and the headquarters for defense and aerospace company Raytheon Technologies.

Shift5 says the investment in more office infrastructure demonstrates the flexibility, empowerment and responsibility it provides to employees to work wherever is best for them. From its founding in 2019, the startup has permitted its employees across the U.S. to use office space or work remotely.

“Despite economic headwinds, Shift5 has actually expanded our headcount by 54% just this year. Because of the work we do with the government, we have been insulated from a lot of this turmoil and have been fortunate enough to keep growing,” said Shift5 CEO and co-founder Josh Lospinoso in a statement to ARLnow. “We are hybrid-by-design and will remain that way, but some of our teams want to be working in-person and collaborating in real-time.”

1100 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, home to Shift5 and other companies, including defense contractor Raytheon Technologies (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The company says its expanded presence in Arlington enables it to continue driving the pace of technology outside of Silicon Valley and keep tabs on decisions the U.S. Department of Defense makes to improve critical infrastructure.

“Shift5 is in a powerful position in the market. We’ve found a beachhead within [the Department of Defense] and have several customers using our technology to help fortify the readiness, lethality, and survivability of the military,”  Lospinoso said in a press release. “Such success has helped us invest back into our company, and our people, one of our most valuable assets. Our hybrid-by-design workforce and massive growth are proof points of the fast-growing D.C. metro community.”

The office will hold over 80 desks, spaces for team meetings and activities, flexible workstations with stand-up desks, easily-moveable furniture and dedicated quiet areas. The new office space also includes a wellness room for nursing mothers and for those who would like to address physical and mental health needs during the work day.

2022 was a big year for Shift5. In addition to the $50 million fundraising round, it appointed three C-level executives: its inaugural Chief Financial Officer, Chief Research Officer and Chief Technology Officer. It was named a Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) Capital Cyber Award Finalist and Tech 100 Honoree, and recognized as an “Excellence Award Finalist” in the Most Promising Early-Stage Startup category for the 2022 SC Awards, which honor the American solutions, companies and people advancing cybersecurity.

It also secured multiple government and military contracts. Shift5 technology is used to monitor weapon system cyber health on aircraft, protect defense department weapons, provide technology for defensive cyberspace operations and provide cybersecurity for a network used by all military branches to share information and make decisions faster.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

From eco-friendly dog food to portable airplane cupholders, this year’s Startup Monday column has highlighted locals with bright ideas.

In 2022, we profiled startups and wrote about mergers, acquisitions, fundraising rounds and relocations. These companies spanned the industries of supply chain logistics to healthcare, data to cybersecurity, and commercial real estate to interior decorating.

But two themes of this year were go-getters with novel products — all coming out of Clarendon — and giving back.

Clarendon resident and fitness buff David Kolton launched Aviate, a line of flour, flakes and baking mixes made of the humble lupini. The high-fiber bean has more protein than meat and can be grown without irrigation, powering humans while reducing their environmental impact.

“I want to make something that’s not only something healthy people will appreciate, but is also something they can enjoy with their friends and family who don’t eat that way,” he said.

Clarendon resident Haley Russell founded Chippin, a company that sells dog treats and dog food made from crickets, an invasive species of fish called the silver carp and a CO2-sucking algae called spirulina.

“We created the first-of-its-kind dog food that solves for providing high-quality nutrition with a protein for dogs with allergies to beef and chicken and helps restore biodiversity in the Great Lakes while fishing for a fish we need to fish for,” she said.

After assembling a 3D printer, teaching himself how to use it, teaching himself how to resin cast, write a patent and register a trademark, Clarendon resident Seth LaPierre told us he is ready to launch the “Sip n’ Clip,” a cup holder for airplane seats.

“If you’re trying to create something, no one is going to pop up and help you,” he said. “Roll up your sleeves and get it done.”

Amazon’s under-construction HQ2 is seen above the Pentagon City skyline, as viewed from Columbia Pike (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

His business donates part of its profits to organizations promoting security, empowerment and equality for women and girls. Here’s how other Arlington companies made a difference this year.

Rosslyn-based CyberVista, a cybersecurity workforce development company, made available two courses to participants in Black Girls Hack. The Alexandria-based nonprofit tackles lack of representation in STEM by training Black girls and women in STEM fields, with a focus on cybersecurity and executive suites.

“Our partnership with Black Girls Hack goes hand-in-hand with CyberVista’s goal to close the skills gap in cybersecurity by measuring and upskilling underrepresented groups of talent,” CyberVista CEO Simone Petrella said.

The Venture X coworking location (2300 Wilson Blvd) in Courthouse donated office space to give The Black Girl TRIBE a new headquarters. The organization, which this year received a $100,000 grant from Nike, educates and uplifts Black girls through mentoring and educational programs and leadership events.

“I was inspired by her mission, and support her doing important work she’s doing,” Venture X location owner Julie Felgar said. “It’s an equity issue: making sure young ladies from all ethnicities and from all walks of life can value themselves and see what the opportunities are for them out in the world.”

We also sat down with longtime Arlington resident and father Peter Kant, whose company Enabled Intelligence employs Americans with disabilities and veterans. The data and security company is redefining workplace inclusion while ensuring government agencies and contractors employ American citizens for security reasons.

“Some were bagging groceries but had a computer science degree from Radford University, and because of their neurodiversity, were not working anywhere else,” he said.

These Arlington creators and companies weathered a tough economic outlook with their concepts cracking contemporary problems. ARLnow will be back with Startup Monday columns in the new year to highlight more locals with big ideas and companies making names for themselves in tech, government contracting and beyond.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Restaurant software startup MarginEdge has raised $45 million in Series C funding, bringing the company’s total fundraising to over $70 million.

The fundraising news wraps up a busy 12 months for the 7-year-old company, which is expecting to move from Fairfax County into a new office space in Ballston this month and won accolades for its growth and office culture.

Founded and led by restaurateurs, MarginEdge offers a software product that streamlines all the back-of-house aspects of running a restaurant. It processes invoices, manages inventory, analyzes the cost and popularity of recipes, and provides budgeting, performance tracking and supplier bill payment capabilities.

“A lot of this funding will be invested in developing support and adding resources to our existing team,” co-founder and CEO Bo Davis said. “We’ve been through a huge growth spurt and feel like in many ways we have much of the team we need for the next 12 to 24 months.”

MarginEdge will hire an additional “50 or so” people throughout the year, but Davis says existing employees are doing amazing work, citing this year’s awards.

“We have an incredible team of brilliant, driven, creative, mission-oriented people who believe in what we are doing and care deeply about the customers we serve,” Davis said. “Any growth CEO will tell you scaling an organization and keeping the same passion you had when it was just a few folks on card tables in a back office somewhere to the point where you have hundreds of folks across the country is really tough. I’m proud of all of it but it’s our people and culture that makes any of our accomplishments truly special.”

The funding will also be used to add more functions and tools to its platform and expand MarginEdge’s network in the restaurant industry.

“There’s clear endorsement of our product and path, and we hope to arm our current and future clients with more ways to streamline their business,” Davis said.

MarginEdge founders Bo Davis (left) and Roy Phillips (right) (via PR Newswire)

MarginEdge’s new location will be in the top floor of an office building above Ballston Quarter mall (4200 Wilson Blvd.) — and it will have a commercial kitchen and restaurant where clients can come and cook.

“We move into our new space in just a few weeks and we are all really excited,” Davis said. “Ballston is such a vibrant neighborhood and central for so many of our local team members. We are excited to have a space built for collaboration and fits the needs of our team — plus the Capitol views aren’t bad either.”

The restaurant space is intended to celebrate the talents of MarginEdge’s clients and “keep our team really close to the end user we serve,” Davis said.

MarginEdge has 50 clients in Arlington, including South Block, Lost Dog Cafe and SER, and supports its local clients by catering lunch from them every week.

After begin recognized as a “Top Place to Work” by the Washington Post and Washington Business Journal, getting onto the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies and being recognized as a “Red Hot” local startup, Davis says MarginEdge is “excited about the year ahead.”

“There is so much on the horizon, from product improvements, to new strategic partnerships, to doubling down on current high-impact initiatives — it is going to be an amazing ride,” he said.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Clarendon resident Seth LaPierre still can’t quite believe he is the first person to patent a cup holder for airplane seats.

“It’s the next PopSocket, but for travel,” he said, referencing the ergonomic grip that sticks to phone cases. “It’s so simple.”

LaPierre has developed, patented and trademarked the “Sip n’ Clip” — a cup holder that clips into tray tables. He came up with the idea on a flight to Paris when his wife was trying to find a place to store her large coffee so it wouldn’t spill on the floor or get squished by the backseat pouch.

“I was thinking about it while we were in Paris,” he tells ARLnow. “There’s gotta be something that exists. I searched around and couldn’t find anything.”

That was 2017. The last five years have been “quite the journey” for LaPierre, who is preparing to launch his signature “Sip n’ Clip” product next year to catch the wave of people resuming travel.

“Things take much longer than you expect,” he said. “It was my first journey in actually developing and manufacturing a product and bringing it to market.”

The Sip n’ Clip (courtesy photo)

He assembled his own 3D printer and taught himself how to use it in order to develop a prototype, which took 10 tries. The final product was too flimsy, so taught himself resin casting to create something more durable. He researched and drove to numerous factories east of the Mississippi until he found one with which he wanted to work. He learned how to write a patent and register a trademark.

“If you’re trying to create something, no one is going to pop up and help you,” he said. “Roll up your sleeves and get it done.”

LaPierre, who worked in the promotional products industry for a few years, took advantage of work flights and trade shows to conduct market research. About 20% of people he talked to said they don’t buy drinks before they fly because of the storage issue. At trade shows, people said they were tired of free T-shirts, water bottles and fidget spinners, and felt bad they would get thrown away after little use. Meanwhile, companies still wanted low-budget products on which to advertise.

“I found challenges around sustainability and utility,” he said. “I just kept hearing, ‘We need something new and innovative.'”

The pandemic hit right when he wanted to go to market, which, in retrospect, gave him a few extra months to tweak the product and create a social impact strategy.

LaPierre cut out extraneous plastic, which made the product more sustainable and gave it a secondary use as a phone holder. He also decided to donate 25% of profits from promotional sales to community-nominated nonprofits. Inspired by his wife and daughter, these nonprofits focus on security, empowerment and equality for women and girls.

“A lot of millenials, Gen Zers and digital natives want a purpose-driven product,” he said. “I wanted to weave that in with the promotional side of the business.”

Seth LaPierre with his invention and patents (courtesy photo)

He says today’s iteration of the Sip n’ Clip ticks a lot of boxes. It can increase drink sales at airports, it can spark conversations at trade shows and it can put promotional messages in front a group of bored people with nothing to look at but the view from 10,000 feet and their phones.

“It’s an innovative way to connect brands with people in this captive audience,” he said. “If you think about how many people are getting back into the air, there’s no way to market to them.”

The product will be available on Amazon in the next month or so, he says. He recently wrapped up a Kickstarter campaign and next, he’ll run an IndieGoGo campaign. His goal it to get into coffee shops and hotels.

He joked he earned a four-year college degree in product design through this process.

“Now, I have to get a master’s in marketing,” he said.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

There is nothing Clarendon resident David Kolton loves more than hyping up the ancient Roman superfood legume, the lupini.

High in fiber and protein, the lupini fills you up quickly and keeps you satiated for longer. It is one of two plant-derived complete proteins and has more protein per serving than chicken or beef. It is low in sugar, so it is diet-friendly for pre-diabetic and diabetic people.

Beyond health benefits, it is environmentally friendly, Kolton says. Farmers can grow the bean using only rainwater — no irrigation required — and it restores phosphorus and nitrogen to the soil where other crops absorb it.

“It is the next superfood,” Kolton says. “It’s the superfood you’ve never heard of.”

While the legume is popular in Canada and Australia, Kolton is looking to take this humble bean to new heights in the U.S. with his health foods brand Aviate. The name is a nod to his day job as a commercial pilot and his 19 years of service as a military pilot. In fact, he first tried the bean after a visit to Rome and was surprised it hadn’t yet attained more popularity in America.

“I was so obsessed,” he said. “I was like, ‘I need to start this company’… during Covid, some people had babies or got a Peloton. I started this company.”

Kolton, who is still in the Air National Guard, founded the brand and kicked off sales in spring of 2021 with lupini flour and flakes, which can be added to stir fries, taco meat, hummus and chili for a fiber and protein boost. Last week, he celebrated two new products at Clarendon’s East West Cafe, as a gesture of appreciation for all the hours he has spent there working on the company.

Aviate now sells pancake and brownie dry mixes, which he advertises as Ket0-compliant. All the lupini products are made of legumes sourced from French farms.

“We have Keto on there because 80% of our clients are probably low-carb or Keto, but it’s all search engine,” he said. “We only sell on Amazon, and we can research what people search. They don’t search ‘protein pasta’ or ‘high fiber pasta,’ they search ‘Keto pasta.'”

It took a professional food developer, who specializes in low-carb foods, 16 tries to perfect the pancakes and eight tries to hone the brownie mix. He tapped his unofficial nieces and nephews — the children of his friends — for frank reviews.

“I’d test them on friends and family, and they’d say ‘Yeah, it’s good, Dave’ because they don’t want to hurt my feelings,” he said. “Once the kids wouldn’t spit them out, or they wanted more, I said, ‘Sweet, we’re good.’ Kids are going to give you honest feedback.”

Aviate founder David Kolton (staff photo)

Now, he says, he regularly gets grateful emails from low-carb customers who are able to make a healthier baked good the entire family enjoys. Typically, they come from moms who changed their diet to stave off diseases like Type 2 diabetes and have struggled to make diet-compliant foods their husbands and kids will eat.

Kolton understands that split-family dynamic. Growing up in an Italian-American kitchen where “food was everything,” the love language — combined with the sugary, high-fat American diet — was a recipe for a chubby childhood. Read More

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Arlington-based CyberVista announced it is providing free cybersecurity training through a new partnership with a D.C. area nonprofit.

The cybersecurity workforce development company located in Rosslyn (1300 17th Street N.) is making available two courses to participants in Black Girls Hack. The Alexandria-based nonprofit provides training and resources to encourage Black girls and women to be engaged in STEM fields, with a focus on cybersecurity and executive suites.

“There is a critical shortage of black women in the cybersecurity industry. BlackGirlsHack’s mission is to bridge this gap by creating a source of shared knowledge and resources that can enable black girls and women to break the barriers,” said BlackGirlsHack Founder and Executive Director Tennisha Martin in a written statement.

For CyberVista, the partnership complements its work to support STEM education.

“Our partnership with Black Girls Hack goes hand-in-hand with CyberVista’s goal to close the skills gap in cybersecurity by measuring and upskilling underrepresented groups of talent,” CyberVista CEO Simone Petrella said. “We support organizations that invest in their communities by elevating STEM education that will enable a better and more diverse cybersecurity workforce.”

A Black woman coding (via Unsplash/[email protected])

Its two courses — Cybersecurity Matters and Security Essentials for IT — are aimed at supplementing the training that BGH provides to current members.

Cybersecurity Matters, which is designed for a non-technical audience, provides foundational knowledge of common cyber attacks and defensive techniques. The company says the course “helps learners understand the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of cybersecurity, and their role in keeping the organization secure.”

Security Essentials for IT, designed for information technology professionals, addresses cybersecurity threats related to protecting business data and maintaining business systems.

“We are excited to partner with CyberVista, an organization recognized for making inroads to eliminate the skills gap,” Martin said. “The resources they are providing our members will help us open the doors for more black female professionals in cybersecurity for today and tomorrow.”

CyberVista, founded in 2016, is the sister company of the 85-year-old tutoring and training platform Kaplan. It recently merged with Maryland-based CyberWire, an audio-based cyber media company to form N2K Networks, or “news to knowledge” network, the Washington Business Journal reports.

The new cyber media and education brand has raised a $5.4 million round of funding.

The company that owns Kaplan and CyberVista, Graham Holdings, previously owned the Washington Post.

Flickr photo by wocinthechat

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

New federal security requirements continue to boost a local Arlington-based IT company.

C3 Integrated Solutions announced last week it is merging with Massachusetts-based Steel Root to provide defense contractors, including its 70 clients headquartered in Arlington, an “end-to-end solution” for reaching and maintaining compliance with new standards from the Department of Defense.

In a statement, C3 complimented Steel Root, saying the compliance product it launched in 2021 “frankly, fills key gaps in our offering,” which includes IT services such as software, email and cybersecurity.

For its part, C3 says it will “bring a breadth of experience and close relationship with Microsoft that will only accelerate their already impressive growth.”

The new company will continue operating under C3’s name and its headquarters will be in Arlington, C3 Marketing Director Karen M. Vasquez tells ARLnow. As a result of the merger, the new C3 will keep its current staffing levels of about 60 people and plot an expansion.

“Both teams feel very strongly about the white glove, boutique service we’re able to apply to clients,” she said. “In order for us to maintain that approach, we need to bring in more people.”

It will also get a new CEO, Marc Pantoni.

“He’s done this before,” C3 cofounder Bill Wootton, who will now be the Chief Revenue Officer, said in a video discussing the merger. “He knows how to build to the scale I think we’re going to need as we try to meet this market demand.”

This is the latest sign of growth for C3, which this year placed No. 25 in the Washington Business Journal’s recent ranking of the region’s fastest-growing companies and on the Inc. 5000 list, ranks 1,544th in the U.S, 63rd in Virginia and 88th among IT Management companies.

Both C3, founded in 2008, and Steel Root, founded in 2016, attribute their individual growth to the new regulations, announced in late 2020. Among other things, they require companies to have access entirely U.S.-based help desks and introduces auditors to ensure compliance, where before companies could self-report this.

“This merger opportunity was really a situation where one plus one equals three,” co-founder Ryan Heidorn, who will be the new Chief Technology Officer, said in the video.

Funding from the merger, provided by private equity company M/C Partners, will cover the cost of the merger as well as new hiring. That could go toward standing up a U.S.-based call center, Vasquez said.

Regarding staffing, which won’t change in the short term, Wootton said in the same video that the company’s leaders did not want to “mess with” the company’s culture.

“Your employees, your team, are your most important people,” he said. “If you take care of them, they’ll take care of your customers.”

The companies declined to disclose the finances of the merger to the Washington Business Journal, which first reported the news.

The executive team of C3 and Steel Root (courtesy of C3)
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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

A local health foods truck opened a brick-and-mortar location this year with help from a small business resource offered by Arlington County.

Health Pub, which offers organic, vegan açai bowls and smoothies, was launched as a food truck in April 2022 by Jan Moyo and Kewan Masoud.

They applied for and were accepted into ReLaunch, a small business grant program managed by Arlington Economic Development that helps entrepreneurs with financial and strategic planning, record keeping, improving branding and increasing their digital presence.

Through the program, the founders got connected with mentor companies and received a new website and consulting services for free. Eligible companies must be located in Arlington, have an up to date Arlington business license and operate in the county within the last month, according to AED’s website. They must also have fewer than 50 employees.

“With BizLaunch, we were looking to get assistance on things we couldn’t do ourselves. Things like setting up your website can set your marketing back and BizLaunch helps with that,” Moyo tells ARLnow. “We always want to utilize all the resources the county offers and BizLaunch was a blessing in that regard.”

Since then, Health Pub has added its first physical location in the food court at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (1100 S. Hayes Street), and has gone from two to seven employees. Moyo says Arlingtonians love Health Pub’s açai bowls, smoothies and juices.

“In Arlington — being a healthy county — people have really embraced our product and our brand,” Moyo said. “Even our popularity in terms of the calls we get for events, the lines we have whenever we are at an event, has just been amazing and mind-blowing.”

HealthPub’s brick-and-mortar location in Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (via HealthPub/Facebook)

Over the next five years, Health Pub says it plans to open more storefronts and food trucks throughout the D.C. area, and is considering franchising the brand nationally.

Initially, the plan was to franchise just food trucks, but Moyo said he and his business partner found the trucks needed support from brick-and-mortar locations, such as during the winter months, when the food truck does not operate.

“For us to properly franchise, we’re working on our model store and model truck,” Moyo said. “Once we draw the proper plans, that’s when we’ll offer the brand as a franchise to other people.”

While Health Pub is not the only local purveyor of açai bowls, smoothies and juices, Moyo says the food truck distinguishes Health Pub from competitors like South Block.

“We’re are going to be around you in some way,” he said. “We are always a popular option because we’re the healthiest food truck in the DMV area. Any event we go to, we always get long lines and we always are booked throughout the week.”

Once spring arrives next year, folks will be able to find the food truck every Sunday at the Columbia Pike farmers market, every Wednesday at the Rosslyn farmers market, and other locations in Arlington and D.C.

The line to order from local food truck Health Pub when it stopped at the Catholic University of America in D.C. in October (via Health Pub/Facebook)
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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Arlington County held its first-ever awards ceremony last week to honor fast-growing startups headquartered in the county.

The ceremony recognized companies that have experienced substantial growth in revenue, employment and venture capital  — “REV Awards” for short.

“The REV Awards were created to celebrate the innovation and perseverance in Arlington’s business community,” said Michael Stiefvater, the Acting Director of Arlington Economic Development Business Investment Group, in a statement.

Companies were categorized based on their revenue, staff size and fundraising rounds completed to ensure fair matches.

“The eight winning companies exemplify these traits as leaders in their respective industries and we are proud that they call Arlington home,” Stiefvater said.

Awards are handed out at Arlington County’s inaugural REV Awards (courtesy photo)

The winning companies, most of which ARLnow have previously featured, include a number of companies that orbit the Department of Defense and national politics, providing everything from cybersecurity to data analysis to consulting work.

But there are some newer companies that break that mold, founded after the defense department closed dozens of government offices after the 2005 Base Realignment and Closing Act.

Revenue

Employment

Venture Capital

Ballston-based consulting firm Franklin IQ (901 N. Glebe Road)– a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business founded by a former Marine — mostly works with defense industry and federal healthcare clients. During the pandemic, it leaned into its veteran roots and helped about 600 veteran health clinics move their in-person visits online, and provided expertise to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on PTSD treatment, sexual assault response and prevention and suicide prevention.

For the third consecutive year, Clarendon-based IT company C3 Integrated Solutions (3033 Wilson Blvd) landed on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies, ranking 1,544th in the U.S, 63rd in Virginia and 88th among IT Management companies. It reports a 414% growth over three years, during which time it pivoted temporarily to helping defense contractors comply with new government-issued cybersecurity regulations.

Ballston-based, veteran-owned data intelligence company Black Cape (4075 Wilson Blvd) landed a spot this spring on a five-year, $241.6 million contract to improve how the Department of Defense uses its vast data resources for missions. The company emerged from “stealth mode” in 2019 and, based on its revenue growth since then, is the sixth fastest-growing company in the D.C. area, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Ballston-based, minority-owned PGLS (1010 N. Glebe Road) provides multilingual translation, interpretation and language training solutions in over 200 languages and dialects. Nine years after its founding in 2013, the company ranked No. 461 on the Inc. 5000 list, as well as No. 40 in the business products and services industry and No. 14 in Virginia.

Shift5 in Rosslyn (1100 Wilson Blvd) has rapidly amassed $70 million in funding over the last 12 months to hire staff, expand its headquarters and develop its products. The company appointed its first Chief Financial Officer, Robert Sison, in October, and in June, it was recognized for its high sales rate and commitment to the public sector. The company has been sounding the alarm on rising cybersecurity threats to the nation’s planes and trains.

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